|Matt Albers: ‘I enjoyed playing’ with Red Sox||07.31.12 at 7:29 pm ET|
General manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox didn’t make the blockbuster trade that some wanted to see before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, but that doesn’t make the deals they did make any less notable.
While management didn’t touch a starting rotation that has performed surprisingly underwhelming this season, they did make some adjustments to another area of the team’s pitching staff – the bullpen. Reliever Matt Albers, along with spot starting outfielder Scott Podsednik were shipped out of Boston and out west to Arizona in exchange for Diamondbacks left-handed reliever Craig Breslow.
Talking with reporters in the clubhouse shortly after hearing he was traded, Albers offered no ill will toward the organization that dealt him, expressing nothing but good things about his now former teammates and excitement for the next stage of his career with the Diamondbacks.
“I had a good time here. I enjoyed playing with these guys,” Albers said. “It’s definitely the most talented team I’ve ever been on. … I had a lot of good memories playing in Boston.”
In two seasons with the Red Sox, Albers contributed solid numbers out of the bullpen. In 104 innings, he racked up a 6-4 record with a 3.81 ERA. After a spotty 2011 season in which he went 4-4 with a 4.73 ERA, the right-hander was a much more reliable arm in his 39 1/3 innings with the team this season, putting up a 2-0 record, 2.29 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 40 appearances.
Manager Bobby Valentine had nothing but positive things to say about him, commending his development over the course of the year.
“He did a fabulous job with our team,” Valentine said. “He went from being kind of a middle guy to a guy I trusted later in the game, did a great job. We only wish him luck.”
Albers said he wasn’t expecting to get a phone call that he had been traded.
“[I was] a little surprised,” he said. “I wasn’t really expecting it. You hear trade rumors in the clubhouse but you never know whether it’s actually going to go through or not. It’s kind of one of those things, got the call, they said you got traded and you kind of move on.”
Albers will move on to the National League, where he hasn’t played since being a member of the Astros in 2006 and 2007. He was inconsistent there, compiling a 4-13 record 5.87 ERA in 35 appearances, which included 20 starts.
Despite those struggles, Albers will enjoy the fresh start, particularly because he’ll reunite with a familiar face in David Hernandez in the Diamondbacks bullpen. He was former teammates with Hernandez in Baltimore, which will likely aid him in the transition process.
“I’ve heard good things,” Albers said of Arizona. “I’ve heard it’s a good place to play, so I’m excited.
“I think it’s a new opportunity. I’m obviously going to be facing some different hitters, so it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment. I think I’m ready for it and excited.”
Despite all of the excitement that comes with joining a new team, Albers said he’ll still be keeping an eye on his former club. Asked what he’s leaving behind in Boston, Albers replied, “A very good team.”
“These guys have great potential,” he said of the Red Sox. “I’m definitely rooting for them. I’ll definitely keep in touch and keep track, and hopefully the Red Sox can win a lot of games.”
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